NEW YORK-UNS- Senator Brian A. Benjamin and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, along with 66 of their colleagues in the legislature, sent the New York Congressional delegation a letter voicing their grave concerns about the conduct of federal law enforcement in Portland, Oregon. In particular, the letter calls the very presence and the violent actions of federal agents used against peaceful protesters a patently illegal abuse of power that directly contravenes the U.S. Constitution. The legislators call on the New York Congressional Delegation to take immediate action to prevent further such abuses of power. Unmarked federal agents in Portland, operating without identification or accountability, have detained citizens without warning or cause and violently attacked peaceful protesters. Legislators fear overstep by federal law enforcement agencies would permeate the borders of New York State and are working to prevent these actions from being replicated in other regions. The letter was signed by 32 State Senators and 34 members of the Assembly.
“Armed interference from the federal government has done nothing to make the people of Portland any safer, and it would do nothing to keep us safer here if implemented in New York. The federal government has sent in riot squads in combat gear, they have abducted people off the streets and they have terrorized the people of Portland—we implore Congress to take steps to prevent these actions from spreading to anywhere else in the country, including New York,” said State Senator Brian A. Benjamin
“The current administration presents a clear and present danger to our right as Americans to engage in protest. Actions taken by federal agents in Portland are not only a violation of our Constitutional rights, but set a path for the deterioration of democracy as we know it. This administration continues to engage in government-sanctioned brutality in order to instill fear in our communities. We can not stand by and let our rights continue to be violated. I call on Congress to take swift and immediate action to protect us from the federal government” said Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz.
“Government sanctioned secret police are a threat to every single person in America and across a global democracy. It can not and must not happen here in New York City, where protest is an indelible part of our DNA,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.